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27 August 2017

SSNIT’s digitization should’ve cost $5m- Franklin Cudjoe

President of policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe has opined that the $72 million wasted on the digitization of the operations of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) should have cost $5 million instead.

According to him, the software component of the process should have just been $1 million while $4 million could have been used to tackle the hardware aspect.

SSNIT is currently being investigated by the Economic and Organized Crime Organization (EOCO) for blowing $72 million on procuring and installing a software and hardware systems known as Operational Business Suite (OBS) in a bidto digitize the Trust.

The cost which originally was $34 million later ballooned to $66 million and later $72 million due to maintenance and additional infrastructure.

The Board Chairman of SSNIT, Kwame Addo Kufuor in an interview with Citi News said about 15 people had already appeared before EOCO as witnesses in the matter.

Meanwhile, speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis programme, the Big Issue on Saturday, Franklin Cudjoe insisted that wasting such amount on OBS system was actually a “stupid” decision.

“To think that SSNIT spent 72 million dollars on a software and a digitization project which all put together shouldn’t have cost 5 million dollars,” he added.

He further argued that even the Ghanaian company, Perfect Business Systems, that partnered the Malaysian Company, Silverlake consortium to undertake the project had no experience in that field.

“…To add salt to the injury, the companies that were shortlisted, the Ghanaian partner was said to have zero experience from what they were supposed to do. When we started looking at this matter three years ago, we had no information as has been leaked right now but we knew that Perfect Business Systems had actually zero experience and that is what we put out at the time. So we were not surprised that things turn out the way it is now that the whole thing they bought was meant for something completely different. It tells you that basic information system within SSNIT itself is caput,” Mr. Cudjoe added.

Using Nigeria as a study case, Franklin Cudjoe said the country has totally revamped its pension sector in a way that Ghana could learn from that company instead of wasting the public purse on unnecessary projects sanctioned by politicians.

“Nigeria, our next door neighbor has actually revamped, if not changed completely, the way SSNIT pension management work differently in that country to the extent that private sector has been empowered more in order to hold in trust people’s pensions. I would have wished that when the new pension reforms kicked in, we should have seen a drastic reduction of the amounts that go to SSNIT. Because SSNIT has become a cash cow used by politicians to do all kinds of stupid things,” he added.

By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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